Theological Foundations for Environmental Ethics: Reconstructing Patristic
and Medieval Concepts
by Jame Schaefer
Georgetown University Press, 2009
(336 pages, $29.95, paperback)
reviewed by R. V. Young
The aim of Jame Schaefer’s new book is wholly admirable: She sets out to show that Christian theology of the patristic and medieval periods can provide a basis for ethical behavior in the face of a widely acknowledged abuse of the natural environment common among modern societies. To this end, she has compiled a good deal of information from contemporary scientific sources about ecology, biological evolution, and cosmology. In addition, she has explored the work of a substantial number of theologians and the lives of what might more properly be called devotional figures from the first 1,400–1,500 years of Christianity.
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R. V. Young is Professor of English Emeritus at North Carolina State University, and a former editor of Modern Age: A Quarterly Review. His Shakespeare & the Idea of Western Civilization is forthcoming in January from Catholic University of America Press. He and his wife are parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dunedin, Florida. They have five grown children, 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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